Biovac , South Africa’s vaccine manufacturer has clinched a deal with a consortium of nine development finance institutions to raise $150M to fund the Cape Town based facility to produce up to 1- billion doses a year. This deal bolsters South Africa and the African continent to increase vaccine manufacturing capacity and reduce reliance on imports like it has over the years.
Biovac is part of a consortium of organizations that has partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) and its COVAX partners to establish the first COVID-19 mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub in South Africa. Biovac has previously entered into an agreement with Pfizer in July of 2021 with the goal to manufacture up to 100 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for Africa’s exclusive use.
“COVID-19 has proven that a more geographical spread of vaccine manufacturing is much needed globally, with the African continent having the least number of vaccine manufacturers. We are pleased that the consortium of funders is willing to work with Biovac to create sustainable African vaccine manufacturing, not only to respond to the current pandemic, but also to much needed routine vaccines and future pandemic vaccines as well,” said Biovac’s Chief Finance Officer Craig Mitchell.
Biovac is expecting to firstly expand existing vaccine manufacturing capacity for COVID-19 vaccines, then turn to capacity for routine vaccines as well.
“We have developed a 2030 Pharmaceutical Action Plan/Continental Vision for Africa. We aim to increase the local production of pharmaceuticals to 70% by 2030, and of vaccines to 60% by 2040. Today’s announcement with Biovac is a strong testament to our pledge to make direct investments in manufacturers and provide leadership to support the development of the pharmaceutical industry on our continent.” said African Development Bank Group President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina
He further added that Africa must become self-sufficient with health security being fundamental to economic security further adding the COVID-19 pandemic was a wake-up call that Africa could not outsource the health of its people to other continents or rely on global supply chains.
The consortium is made up of the African Development Bank (AfDB); CDC Group – UK’s development finance institution which is soon to be renamed British International Investment; the German development finance institution DEG; the US International Development Finance Corporation; the European Investment Bank; the European Union Delegation to South Africa; the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa; and the French development finance institution Proparco.